Author: Kweku Ampiah.
Ampiah, Kweku. 2012. "The Discourse of Local Ownership in Development: Rhapsodies about ‘Self-help’ in Japan's Economic Assistance to Africa." Japanese Studies 32 (2): 161-182. https://doi.org/10.1080/10371397.2012.708400
This article explores Japan's initiatives toward the development discourse on Africa through the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD), and specifically in regards to a concept that is increasingly becoming a core tenet of the TICAD, the ‘national ownership’ of development. The article examines the literature on development ownership before concentrating more specifically on the Japanese responses to the discourse. The analysis explores Japan's emphasis on the principle of self-help in national development and suggests that the conflation of self-help and ownership in the Japanese discourse of development needs to be disentangled for clarity as the two concepts are not the same. Generally the article endeavours to bring into perspective Japan's attempts to stitch itself more forcefully into the fabric of the discourse on African development with the objective of contributing a more nuanced approach to the global initiative to finding a solution to Africa's development problematic. It is suggested that in doing so Japan is transposing its understanding of development, along with its belief in the state-centric approach to economic growth onto Africa. How the African policymakers have responded to the concept of ‘ownership’ in the context of TICAD is also assessed.